English, Department of


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A THESIS Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Master of Arts Major: English Under the Supervision of Professor Frances W. Kaye Lincoln, Nebraska April, 2011

Copyright 2011 Aubrey Streit Krug


This essay is devoted to looking back into the life and fiction of Edythe Squier Draper, a twentieth-century writer in Oswego, Kansas. Many of Draper’s stories are set in southeastern Kansas. Through them, we gain a sense of how she attempted—and at times failed—to perceive, articulate, and adapt to her place on the Great Plains. Draper claimed the identity of a rural woman writer by writing herself into narratives of colonial, agricultural settlement, and she both complicated and perpetuated stereotypes of class and race in her fiction. By examining her and her characters’ perspective on their place in the Great Plains, we can better know the complex and problematic cultural history we have inherited. Furthermore, by considering what Draper for the most part does not do in her work—such as perceive the Native American inhabitants of her place—we can better appreciate the need for literature that challenges readers to temporally and spatially broaden their scales of perception beyond the level of an individual human character to include other human and non-human beings.